A SCOTS sufferer of Motor Neurone Disease has reached an outstanding fundraising target of £100,000 by cycling 5,000km on his rehab machine.
Dad-of-three Calum Ferguson, 52, the vice-president for an investment management company, T Rowe Price, was diagnosed with MND in March 2010.
MND is a rapidly progressing terminal illness, which stops signals from the brain reaching the muscles. This may cause someone to lose the ability to walk, talk, eat, drink or breathe unaided.
Calum, from Dunblane, said: “As a 46 year old with three young children this was a devastating piece of news, particularly given the poor prognosis.
“However, I decided from the outset that I was not going to give in easily, I kept working for 2 years and we had some memorable family holidays to the USA, Australia and across Europe.
“I became wheelchair bound in March 2012 and seriously ill during the autumn of 2012. I appeared to be in the typical end of life spiral of MND and after a period in the intensive care unit, during November 2012, I was transferred to my local hospice in December 2012.
“By this time I was ventilated, had a feeding tube fitted and I was not expected to live for more than 6 weeks.
“At this point Stirling Council and NHS Scotland came together to ensure I was able to come home to die.
“A care package was put in place and after spending what we all thought was my last Christmas in the hospice, I came home on 27 December 2012.
“Amazingly, due to the combination of good care, equipment, and physiotherapy my condition improved and has since pretty much stabilised.
“Now I have limited mobility but I am still able to talk normally and eat a good, albeit modified diet. I can use the computer via Eyegaze, which enables me to control my computer with my eyes.
“There are many people who have helped see me through the 6 years of our journey. Above all others is my wife Elise, who has been my rock and at times a beacon through the many dark moments.
“Elise has supported me through every step of the way from that fateful day in the Southern General.
“I can’t thank her enough for this love and support. Many of my family have gone above and beyond what could be reasonably expected to help us. My extensive medical team and care staff have been great, I would consider many of my carers as friends.”
Since his diagnosis Calum has become an avid fundraiser and campaigner for MND Scotland.
In January 2015 he set up his Just Giving page to start raising money for MND Scotland and has now exceed his £100,000 target by cycling 5,000km on his rehab cycling machine.
He said, “Rehab equipment and physiotherapy isn’t available in my area for MND patients, so I hired a rehab cycling machine and have been using it since December 2014, hence the logic behind this effort.
“During the last year and a half, due to everyone’s support I’ve been able to reach back out into the world and launch my MND Campaign, which has so far raised over £100,000 and has increased MND Awareness through the many articles which have been published.
“We’ve also met with many politicians, including, Shona Robinson the Scottish Health Secretary, to seek to improve things for MND sufferers and those with related conditions.
“In terms of the future, I plan to keep campaigning for as long as I can and show that no matter how disabled folks may be, society should never write us off, as we can still achieve great things.”
Iain McWhirter, head of fundraising and volunteering at MND Scotland, said: “The impact of Calum’s fundraising and awareness raising efforts is already making a real difference to others affected by MND.
“The money Calum has raised is helping us continue supporting people affected by the illness across Scotland - not only improving their lives by providing the necessary equipment, but also paying for essential home adaptations.
“We are extremely grateful to Calum for all his hard work and raising £100,000 is such an incredible achievement.”
MND is a terminal neurological condition, which affects signals going from the brain to the muscles.
TO DONATE: Calum Ferguson’s Justgiving page
Symptoms include losing the ability to walk, speak, eat and breathe unaided, with average life expectancy being just 14 months after diagnosis. There are over 450 people in Scotland living with MND and on average over 160 new cases of MND are diagnosed each year.
MND Scotland is the only charity in Scotland providing care and information for people affected by MND as well as funding for research.